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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Lack of members leaves Brampton's Royal British Legion teetering on brink of closure

Talks over the future of Brampton's Royal British Legion are to be held as member numbers dwindle to just five.

Brampton RBL photo
From left, Tommy Waugh, George Bonnar, Anne Quean, Fred Chipchase

As the town’s annual poppy appeal is launched, Legion members are calling for people to join them.

If more members of the community do not come forward, the branch could be laid down, ending the poppy appeal in Brampton.

Ex-serviceman Fred Chipchase has organised the appeal for the last 12 years. It raises in the region of £10,000 each year for the Royal British Legion.The charity works to support ex-servicemen and their families.

Mr Chipchase, 78, said: “We are thin on numbers. Our oldest member is Major Jim Penton and he is 91. Our youngest member is in her late 60s.

“We are getting long in the teeth. We need new blood.”

Anyone can join the British Legion, even those without an Armed Forces background.

Mr Chipchase said the remaining members of the branch will discuss its future at a meeting next month.

“There are two or three possibilities,” he said. “There's the point that if we don't get [more new members] we could stand down and that would mean stopping the poppy appeal in Brampton.”

The annual appeal is very well supported in the town with shops taking collection boxes and local people rallying behind the cause.

“We raise a large amount for the size of the area,” added Mr Chipchase. “Maybe Brampton is unusually sentimental towards the British legion and the soldiers of World War One.”

Mr Chipchase is also keen for people to come forward and help with collecting for and organising the appeal.

There will be a wreath laying ceremony at Brampton War Memorial Hospital on November 13 to mark Remembrance Sunday.

It will begin at 2pm, before a parade to the Market Place and a united service at St Martins Church.

There will also be a two-minute silence following The Last Post played by Brampton Silver Band at the Moot Hall on November 11 at 11am.

If you wish to find out more about joining the Royal British Legion in Brampton call Mr Chipchase on 016977 46070.

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